Coach operators in despair at lack of support for tourism

3 February 2021

The Coach Tourism Association (CTA) and the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CTP UK) are among tourism and events groups expressing disbelief that the Government is still disregarding the sectors for access to the latest Covid-19 support.

Even sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars are eligible for Business Grants, Local Restriction Support Grants and Business Rates Relief, the consortium points out.

However, tour operators, destination management companies, coach operators, language schools and event organisers, who generate £17.5 billion and provide 275,000 jobs between them, are not listed as businesses that should be eligible for support.

The Government’s latest Business Support Package for January Lockdown, which includes a Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment, again excludes tourism and many event businesses from applying.

The associations and their members say they have repeatedly contacted Ministers, MPs and government officials to outline why these businesses, which were profitable before the pandemic, should be supported and to ask for the eligibility criteria to be changed to include them.

CTA Chairman Robert Shaw said: “Direct government support to coach tour operators during the pandemic has been patchy at best, with many left to cope without any significant support beyond furlough since the first lockdown.”

The sector’s customers will be desperate to take coach holidays once it becomes safe to travel again, he went on, and it is vital that coach businesses are able to meet that need and continue delivering tourists and their significant spending power to destinations and regions across the UK.